Day 01: Arrive Paro (altitude 2200 meters), Paro – Thimphu; 60 km [1.5 hours]
In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, it is a breathtaking journey, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the kingdom.
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by Far East Himalaya representative. On completion of airport formalities, you will be drive towards the hotel in Paro. Today’s tour program depends on your arrival time in Paro.
Evening free after dinner. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro Festival
The Paro Tshechu is held every spring and is one of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district).
The Tsehchu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting) , the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.
After lunch visit Ta Dzong. Once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. Visit privately owned crafts shops, which offer a wide range of handcrafted products, including the splendid thangkha paintings and exquisitely woven textiles for which Bhutan is famous.
Overnight halt at the hotel in Paro
Day 03: Paro Festival
In the morning visit to Paro Dzong (fortress), Continue with festival observation.
After lunch, drive up along the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km. from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and one of the most sacred shrines of the kingdom buily in the 7th century A.D.
In the evening, visit a traditional farmhouse for an opportunity to interact with a local family and learn something of their lifestyle. Later on, take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar.
Overnight halt at the hotel in Thimphu
Day 04: Paro – Thimphu
Mornig drive towards Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan. Paro to Thimphu is 1..5 to 2 hours drive. On arrival to Thimphu, check into the hotel.
After lunch, visit the National Memorial Chorten (stupa). The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had wanted to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”), and a monument to peace. Visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and privately owned crafts shops, which offer a wide range of handcrafted products, including the splendid thangkha paintings and exquisitely woven textiles for which Bhutan is famous. Also visit the Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums.
Evening free after dinner. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 05: Thimphu- Punakha
Drive to Punakha and on the way you will cross over Dochu-La pass (3,088m/10,130ft) and see good view of the Eastern Himalayan peaks, if the weather is clear. Thimphu to Punakha is 2-5 hours journey
Overnight halt at the hotel in Punakha
Day 06: Punakha Halt.
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955, when the seat of government moved to Thimphu. Originally situated on the riverbank and dominated by the towering walls of Punakha Dzong, the township was relocated to a safer site a few kilometers down the valley, consequent upon extensive flooding in the early 1990s. At the same time, extensive renovation work was undertaken on Punakha Dzong itself, which is now a breathtaking and glorious sight as you first glimpse it from the road. Although four catastrophic fires and an earthquake in past times destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong still houses many sacred and historic artifacts and also the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Visit Chimi Lhakhang, the fertility temple of the divine madman-Lama Drukpa Kuenley.
Day 07: Punakha -Paro
Drive back to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong, Thimphu, en route. This dzong was built in 1627 and is the oldest in Dzong in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies.
Arrive Paro and check into the hotel. Farewell dinner with your trip host.
Day 08: Depart Paro
After breakfast, drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination. Your Far East Himalaya representative will help you with the exit formalities and then bid you farewell.